SYLVANIA, Ga. - Feb. 7, 2015 - Shane Clanton doesn't have to worry about going winless on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series in 2015.
The 39-year-old Zebulon, Ga., driver, who last season failed to win a WoO LMS event for the first time since the national tour was restarted in 2004, made his long-awaited return to victory lane with a dramatic triumph during Saturday's Winter Freeze V finale at Screven Motor Speedway.
Snapping a 66-race WoO LMS winless streak that stretched back to June 1, 2013, Clanton overtook Steve Casebolt of Richmond, Ind., on the final lap of Saturday's 50-lap A-Main to earn $10,550 for the 21st WoO LMS victory of his career.
"This feels amazing," said Clanton, who piloted his Clements-powered Capital Race Cars house car to victory for the second time in WoO LMS action at Screven's 3/8-mile oval. "We've worked extremely hard to get back (to victory lane), and to get it done here close to home, it's a big night for us and great for our sponsors and everyone that's stuck with us."
Casebolt settled for second in wrapping up an impressive weekend that saw the Hoosier State driver claim his first-career WoO LMS victory during the tour's season-opening race Friday night. Brandon Overton, the Evans, Ga., driver who finished second to Casebolt in Friday's A-Main, was third in Saturday's feature after charging forward from his fifth starting spot and leading six laps early in the race.
Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., followed his third-place finish on Friday with a fourth-place effort Saturday evening, while Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., gave home-state drivers three top-five positions after taking the fifth spot from polesitter Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., late in the race.
Clanton's dramatic charge to the lead nearly came too late. After riding among the front-runners the entire race, the fourth-starting Clanton was third when the race's only caution appeared with 41 laps complete.
The ensuing single-file restart marked the beginning of Clanton's rally. He immediately began pressuring Overton for the second spot once the race went back green, making multiple low-side challenges. Clanton first edged ahead of Overton on lap 45, but it took until lap 48 for him to complete the pass.
Clanton quickly erased Casebolt's slight advantage and was on the leader's back bumper by the time the white flag waved. Another hard charge into turn one allowed Clanton to drive alongside Casebolt through the center of the corner and he completed the pass after the two cars made contact exiting turn two.
"They started sliding there in lapped traffic and I was just biding my time, waiting for the signal for five to go," said Clanton, whose Ron Davies-owned Capital machine carries sponsorship from Weldbank Energy, Hornburg Oil, Penn Gold Well Services and VP Racing Fuels. "We had that restart and it was single-file, so I knew it was time to go.
"When I saw the white flag and (Casebolt) let up and just protected it, I just took a chance and leaned on him a little bit there. That's just what you do when you're racing for the win - especially as bad as I wanted to win. I knew he wanted to win it, but it's been a long time since I've been in victory lane."
Casebolt made no complaints over Clanton's aggressive final-lap move. He was actually happy to hold on to the second spot after his Club 29 Race Car began to fade late in the race.
"It's just a shame to lead that much and get passed on the last lap," said Casebolt, who midway through the race pulled away to a more than straightaway advantage after emerging from an early battle with Overton. "Shane drove her down in there and just beat me.
"I wasn't very good entering turn one and I actually thought somebody would've passed me way before they did, so I was happy to have held on like I did. The tires were blistered, and I think Shane maybe had a little bit harder tire on his right-rear. That's probably what won it for him."
The runner-up performance wrapped up an impressive weekend for Casebolt and his new Tye Twarog-owned race team. Along with his victory and second-place finish, the former Eldora Dream winner also notched a sixth-place result in Thursday's unsanctioned tune-up event at Screven.
"I wish the second place would've came first," Casebolt said jokingly during his post-race interview. "Now I'm disappointed. I'm spoiled now. But yeah, it was a good weekend."
The lap-41 yellow flag that set up Clanton's late charge was the race's only caution. It occurred when Roberts tangled with Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., while the two drivers battled for the sixth spot. The contact sent Richards for a spin, relegating the three-time WoO LMS champion to a 15th-place finish and marking the first time in seven WoO LMS events at Screven that he failed to finish among the top five.
The pole-starting McCreadie was never a factor in fading back to sixth at the finish. He was followed by 2015 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa., in the seventh spot. Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas, finished eighth with 2011 WoO LMS champion Rick Eckert of York, Pa., and Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., rounding out the top 10 finishers.
Screven's Winter Freeze doubleheader kicked off a busy stretch of WoO LMS racing in Georgia and Florida. The tour moves next to Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., for a pair of $10,000-to-win events during the Bubba Army Winter Nationals Feb. 14-15 A $5,000-to-win DIRTcar-sanctioned event on Feb. 13 precedes Ocala's WoO LMS doubleheader.
The WoO LMS wraps up its February slate with three $10,000-to-win programs during the DIRTcar Nationals Feb. 19-21 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. The DIRTcar Nationals also include three DIRTcar-sanctioned events Feb. 16-18.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com. Fans can also follow the WoO LMS on Twitter at Twitter.com/WoOLateModels and Facebook at Facebook.com/WorldofOutlawsLateModelSeries.
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series Winter Freeze V at Screven Motor Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. Shane Clanton/50 $10,550
2. Steve Casebolt/50 $5,000
3. Brandon Overton/50 $3,500
4. Billy Moyer/50 $2,750
5. Casey Roberts/50 $2,050
6. Tim McCreadie/50 $2,350
7. Mason Zeigler/50 $1,650
8. Morgan Bagley/50 $1,850
9. Rick Eckert/50 $1,900
10. Chub Frank/50 $1,750
11. Darrell Lanigan/50 $1,700
12. Boom Briggs/50 $1,550
13. Jordy Nipper/50 $1,000
14. Tony Knowles/50 $950
15. Josh Richards/50 $1,500
16. Austin Smith/50 $800
17. Chase Junghans/50 $1,320
18. Frank Heckenast Jr./50 $1,300
19. Dan Stone/49 $730
20. Eric Wells/49 $1,250
21. Pancho Lawler/49 $700
22. Jordan Yaggy/17 $700
23. Dale McDowell/10 $700
24. Rodney Sanders/7 $725
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 14 Mins., 49 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.639 Secs.
Yellow Flags: One (lap 41)
Lap Leaders: Casebolt (1-4; 11-40); Overton (5-10); Clanton (50)
Provisional Starters: Stone, Yaggy.
WoO LMS 'Bonus Bucks' Winner: Overton ($500)
WoO LMS 'Rookie of the Race' Winner: Zeigler ($250)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 76-Brandon Overton, Evans, Ga., 14.421
2. c9-Steve Casebolt, Richmond, Ind., 14.469
3. 101-Casey Roberts, Toccoa, Ga., 14.571
4. 21-Billy Moyer, Batesville, Ark., 14.575
5. 11-Austin Smith, Cedartown, Ga., 14.694
6. 1-Josh Richards, Shinnston, W.Va., 14.806
7. 7v-Rick Eckert,York, Pa., 14.815
8. 29-Darrell Lanigan, Union, Ky., 14.868
9. D8-Dustin Mitchell, Princeton, N.C., 14.898
10. 26-Tony Knowles, Newnan, Ga., 14.919
11. 17m-Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, Ga., 14.942
12. 93-Pancho Lawler, Glenville, Pa., 15.119
13. 21D-Dan Stone, Thompson, Pa., 15.172
14. 60-Jim Manka, Rincon, Ga., 15.271
15. 4ds-Chad Hollenbeck, Montrose, Pa., 15.295
16. 86-Kyle Beard, Trumann, Ark., 15.425
17. 87-Josh Knoll, Lake, Mich., no time
1. 25-Shane Clanton, Zebulon, Ga., 14.776
2. 98-Casey Barrow, Bloomingdale, Ga., 14.785
3. 1*-Chub Frank, Bear Lake, Pa., 14.798
4. 99jr-Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, Ill., 14.954
5. 18c-Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan., 14.968
6. 39-Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y., 14.976
7. 25z-Mason Zeigler, Chalk Hill, Pa., 14.986
8. 14m-Morgan Bagley, Longview, Texas, 15.066
9. 20-Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, 15.131
10. 1N-Jordy Nipper, Gray, Ga., 15.137
11. 99B-Boom Briggs, Bear Lake, Pa., 15.225
12. 4-Brian Ligon, Augusta, Ga., 15.454
13. 1D-Doug Blashe, Marion, Wis., 15.793
14. 77-Jordan Yaggy, Rochester, Minn., 15.994
15. 1B-Eddie Blackman, Kennesaw, Ga., 16.480
16. 18-Eric Wells, Hazard, Ky., no time
Heat No. 1 (10 laps - Top 4 Transfer): Overton, Roberts, Eckert, Smith, McDowell, Mitchell, Hollenbeck, Stone. Did not start: Knoll.
Heat No. 2 (10 laps - Top 4 Transfer): Casebolt, Moyer, Richards, Knowles, Lanigan, Lawler, Beard, Manka.
Heat No. 3 (10 laps - Top 4 Transfer): Clanton, Zeigler, Frank, Briggs, Sanders, Junghans, Blashe, Blackmon.
Heat No. 4 (10 laps - Top 4 Transfer): McCreadie, Bagley, Heckenast, Nipper, Wells, Ligon, Yaggy, Barrow.
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps - Top 3 Transfer): Lanigan, McDowell, Lawler, Beard, Mitchell, Hollenbeck, Stone, Manka. DNS: Knoll.
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps - Top 3 Transfer): Wells, Junghans, Sanders, Yaggy, Ligon, Barrow. DNS: Blashe, Blackmon.
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners (awards presented to noted finisher/qualifier or next highest displaying decal):
Wrisco (three sheets of aluminum/certificate to A-Main winner): Clanton
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Clanton
Quartermaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner): Clanton
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Clanton
Mobil 1 ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Moyer
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Roberts
Lincoln Welders ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): McCreadie
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Eckert
Edelbrock ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main): Eckert
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Frank
Cometic ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Briggs
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Nipper
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Knowles
Quartermaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Junghans
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 16th-place finisher in A-Main): Junghans
Quartermaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Stone
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 21st-place finisher in A-Main): Lawler
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Sanders
QA1 ($50 to driver with fastest lap of the night): Moyer
Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash to fast qualifier): Chasebolt
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 certificate to highest-finishing non-WoO driver): Casebolt
2015 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Feb. 7 - Two A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Steve Casebolt 296
2. (tie) Shane Clanton 290 (-6)
2. (tie) Brandon Overton 290 (-6)
4. Billy Moyer 286 (-10)
5. Tim McCreadie 266 (-30)
6. (tie) Josh Richards 262 (-34)
6. (tie) Darrell Lanigan 262 (-34)
8. (tie) Jordy Nipper 260 (-36)
8. (tie) Chub Frank 260 (-36)
10. Morgan Bagley 258 (-38)